Enhancing water related research and education throughout Illinois

COVID-19 Impacts on Illinois' Water Resources

IWRC is committed to helping educate the public on all issues facing Illinois’ water resources, even Coronavirus.

Read what the CDC says on water and COVID-19 here

Programs, events, and outreach opportunities

IWRC appearance in University of illinois sustainability resources guide

Announcement: Illinois River Basin To be subject in 10 year study for the U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Mission Area (WMA)

“The U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Mission Area (WMA) is planning to intensively study ten Integrated Water Science (IWS) basins throughout the United States over the coming decade, integrating monitoring, research, modeling, and assessment to improve understanding of water availability in a wide range of environmental, hydrologic, and landscape settings. Each IWS basin will be representative of a larger region, and high-density monitoring and cutting-edge research will be used to better understand and model factors affecting water availability (quantity, quality, and use) in the basin, the larger region, and nationally. The first two IWS basins have been selected to be in the Delaware River basin and Upper Colorado River basin and the Illinois River basin has been selected to be the 3rd IWS basin. IWS activities will be accomplished primarily through three WMA programs—the Next Generation Water Observing System (NGWOS) program, Integrated Water Availability Assessments (IWAAs) program, and the Integrated Water Prediction (IWP) program. The three primary programs will be supported by up to eleven other WMA programs that will provide additional monitoring, research, and information dissemination support on an as needed basis, driven by the issues in each IWS basin.

The USGS WMA has recently completed its planned process for selection of a 3rd IWS Basin (formerly referred to as NGWOS Basins). The selection process included the following steps:

    1. Establishment of the target region (Midwest) and science issues (nutrient delivery and harmful algal bloom (HABs)) by the WMA Leadership,
    2. Prioritization of candidate basins in the target regionsusing a quantitative ranking scheme (Van Metre et al, 2020) combined with quantitative estimates for nutrient delivery and HABs occurrence,
    3. Gathering of input from USGS Regional offices and local USGS Science Centers, and
    4. Engagement with targeted national and regional stakeholders in the region to understand science and monitoring gaps and priorities, as well as upcoming initiatives in the candidate basins.

Based on the above factors, the Illinois River Basin was selected as the 3rd IWS Basin.

The Illinois River Basin provides an excellent opportunity to integrate monitoring, research, modeling, and assessment in ways that will enable the USGS to better understand water availability in a Midwestern basin and extend that understanding to the larger region. The Illinois River Basin consists of extensive urban and agricultural land uses that can help improve understanding of how nutrient sources, in combination with climate and land-use change, may limit water availability. HABs occurrences are commonplace in the Illinois River Basin, and the basin is estimated to be one of the largest geographic sources of nutrients to the Gulf of Mexico. Insights gained through IWS basin activities in this area will not only inform nutrient reduction efforts and further understanding of the factors leading to HABs occurrences in Illinois, but also in the broader Mississippi River Basin and Midwestern US. These insights can ultimately help to optimize nutrient management, reduce nutrient loads to the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes, and evaluate how conservation practices may ameliorate water-quality trends at various spatial scales.  Finally, the Illinois River Basin provides many opportunities for integration among water, ecosystem, hazards, and environmental health activities within the USGS, while also providing direct linkages and leveraging opportunities with our Federal, State, local, and non-governmental partners.

It is important to note, that proceeding with these planned IWS activities in each new basin is dependent upon appropriations. Over the course of 2021, USGS WMA will begin broad internal and external stakeholder engagement to help develop a science and monitoring plan for the Illinois River Basin, a plan that will guide USGS IWS activities in the basin over the coming years, dependent upon appropriations. More details will be forthcoming, particularly on upcoming stakeholder engagement opportunities. Should you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Chad Wagner ( or your local USGS Science Center representative.”

– Adrienne Bartlewitz on behalf of Donald Cline.

Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program

Submissions for this fellowship will interest researchers within Underground Thermal Energy Storage (UTES) interested in developing regional and/or national methods of assessments of UTES.

“This research opportunity focuses on thermal energy storage in open systems, where heat and fluids are exchanged with geologic media (e.g., ATES and RTES).  In an RTES system, it is assumed that the heat storage reservoir is comprised of permeable strata that underlies and is in poor hydraulic connection with overlying potable aquifers. ATES would store heat in the overlying aquifer. These systems differ in a number of ways, but for the purposes of this research, a primary distinction is that heat injected into ATES systems is swept away from the point of injection, so must be captured downgradient; and heat injected in RTES systems uses lower quality water, but stored hot or cold water is nearly stagnant, resulting in different operational constraints.” 

USGS Website

Upcoming Events

Find Resources We Recommend for Water Events, Webinars, and more!

The Student Sustainability Committee has Working Groups across various categories of sustainability: Education & Justice, Energy, Food & Waste, Land, Water, & Air, and Transportation & Infrastructure. Meetings occur twice a month. View the SSC Calendar for Zoom information.

All interested in hearing about sustainability projects are welcome to join the meeting!

This event will occur from January 6th-7th, 2021. 

“The Algal Bloom Action Team is a collaboration of water professionals, researchers, and educators from twelve states in the North Central Region of the United States. Team members include the national network of Water Resources Research Institutes (WRRI), the North Central Region Water Network and Cooperative Extensions within each state in the North Central Region. The team’s first ever Research Symposium is intended to gather emergent research regarding harmful algal blooms and to create a venue of discussion for how to improve outreach and engagement to stakeholders impacted by HABs.

This symposium will occur on an annual basis and so that it may serve as an annual collection of ideas, research, and other products that the Algal Bloom Action Team will disseminate through outreach materials to the public.”

To register for this event or for more information, please visit the North Central Region Water Network.

What we do

As a part of the Prairie Research Institute, the Illinois Water Resources Center works with scientists, water professionals, and communities to address the state’s water resource challenges.

Success Stories & Congratulations

Dr. Ashlynn S. Stillwell
Assistant Professor


Dr. Christopher M. Chini
Research Scholar



Using bioavailability to assess pyrethroid insecticide toxicity in urban sediments

Dr. Michael Lydy